I’ve spent the weekend in Reykjavik, mostly checking out the city and partying. It was a very good weekend but it also felt good to get back to Þjórsárdalur (Þjórsá is Iceland’s biggest river, and dalur means valley), where the forest cottage is located. The nearest towns are Arnes (very small, actually called a hamlet) and Selfoss (around 7000 inhabitants). Closeby in the north is Gulfoss, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland.
On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we’ve resumed planting at the stand where we were re-planting last week. More people were assigned there this week and we made much better progress than just me by myself. Some of the enthusiasm from last week had worn off, but it still isn’t too hard to do when you remind yourself that you are doing a good thing. On Thursday and Friday we got a different assignment – clearing secondary forest road network with the brush cutters. I hadn’t used a brush cutter in years and my right shoulder (where most of the brush cutter’s weight lays) is really sore today.
I also get to drive a 4×4 Mitsubishi pick-up now. I’ve had some trouble adjusting to the four-wheel drive and the size of the car but now it’s going pretty smoothly. It’s really fun to drive off-road (these cars can get you just about anywhere), but you also have to be really careful not to get stuck; even though it’s hard to get stuck with a four-wheel drive vehicle, it’s not impossible.
It’s been raining all week but I’m handling the transition to working in bad weather quite well. Also the flies are mostly gone (my guess is that’s mainly because of the rain). The showers aren’t as heavy as in Slovenia and we also have very good rain gear. Forestry workers here never take rainy days off, because there are simply too many. So they always work in the rain and just have to be more careful. The weather here changes every 30 minutes or so; after a rainy morning it might get really sunny after just a few hours. And when it gets sunny after the rain, the surrounding landscape is one of the most impressive that I’ve ever seen. Tall volcanic mountains, rivers that reflect the sunlight in a thousand direction, white-water waterfalls, rainbows everywhere,… It’s a cliche, but the feeling is really something you cannot put into words or pictures, you just have to feel it.
Again, I’m sorry about the lack of good photos. I mostly don’t have reception on my mobile around here so I don’t carry it with me and don’t get to take many pictures. Farewell until next week!